Swiss Microbiomes Forum 2022

Friday, May 06th 2022

EPFL Rolex Learning Center

15:00 – 21:00 (CET)

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Note: The event date has been changed due to COVID restrictions of last January; new date is May 6th 2022.

Innovation Forum Lausanne and the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Microbiomes are proud to announce the first edition of the Swiss Microbiomes Forum, on Friday, 6th of May 2022, at 15h00 CET at the EPFL Rolex Learning Center in Lausanne.  

The Forum will showcase the latest research and technologies harnessing microbiomes for human flourishing and health, along three main axes:

Healthcare – Microbes that live naturally in and on our body affect many conditions such as infections, obesity or autoimmune diseases. Novel medical interventions that selectively target pathogens or beneficial microbes that help restore a balanced microbiome are needed: fecal transplants and the development of therapeutic microbial cultures thus hold great potential for the healthcare of tomorrow.

Nutrition and Food Production – Our food consumption and dietary habits influence our microbiome, with consequences for our health and well-being. Moreover, targeted microbiome management strategies will have an important role to play in maintaining crop yield with less pesticides and fertilizers, and opening new avenues for the production of nutritious food.

Environment – The entire biosphere relies on balanced microbial communities. They contribute to soil fertility, water quality, the treatment of human waste and remediation of pollution, all essential for human flourishing. In addition, novel selected microbial consortia could help improve pollutant removal from streams and lands.

During the event, a pitching competition will be hosted to give visibility to cutting-edge research spinning-off as early-stage start-ups from Swiss universities. 

Overall, the Forum will bring together at EPFL key actors of the Swiss microbiome landscape for a unique moment of exchange. Varied booths will showcase industry, startups, associations and foundations working on devices and products in the microbiomes field. By uncovering the most advanced applied technologies and research efforts, the Forum will offer the opportunity of invaluable networking in a fast-accelerating topic.

Registration to the event is free but mandatory. Follow the link on top of the page.

COVID Disclaimer: The event organizers are committed to offer a safe environment to all participants. We will follow the federal regulations and we will comply with all the sanitary measures required by EPFL at the time of the event. You will find here any updates if the situation changes, and if you are registered to the event, we will send you detailed information via email in due time. 





Event introduction by Innovation Forum Lausanne and NCCR Microbiomes


Microbiomes for healthcare:

  • Kristin Wannerberger, Ferring Pharmaceuticals
  • Pascale Vonaesch, UNIL
  • Tomas de Wouters, PharmaBiome

Microbiomes in food production and nutrition:

  • Olga Sakwinska, Nestlé Research
  • Cosima Pelludat, Agroscope
  • Paulo Refinetti, REM Analytics

Coffee break & booths exhibition


Pitching competition


Microbiomes for the environment:

  • Saskia Bindschedler, UNINE
  • Aline Frossard, WSL
  • Michael Besmer, OnCyt

Closing remarks & networking aperò with booths exhibition


Kristin Wannerberger holds a PhD in Biophysical Technology from Lund University. She has more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and drug development, holding directorial positions in Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland. At Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Wannerberger oversees the development of new therapeutic strategies that target the human microbiome.

Presentation title: Microbiome Alliances in Ferring

Pascale Vonaesch holds a PhD in Infection Biology from ETH Zurich and a Master of Public Health from the Pasteur-CNAM School of Public Health in Paris. Prof. Vonaesch co-leads the Afribiota project, which aims to better understand childhood malnutrition in the developing world. Her work studies the pathophysiological mechanisms and the role of gut microbiota in the disease.

Presentation title: Child undernutrition and the microbiome - new avenues for treatment?

Tomas de Wouters, a trained engineer ETH obtained his PhD at Joel Doré’s group at INRAE where he studied the intestinal microbiome and it’s interactions with the host, thereby being part of the early European microbiome efforts. During his postdoc at ETH Zurich, he co-founded PharmaBiome and started the development of the company as ETH Pioneer Fellow – the local startup incubation program. PharmaBiome pioneered the concept of developing multi-strain consortia based on metabolic interactions and producing these as a biological entity using proprietary technology.

Presentation title: Translation of microbiome insights into drugs

After obtaining her PhD from the University of Basel, Olga Sakwinska investigated the biology of opportunistic human pathogens at the University of Lausanne. Since her move to Nestlé Research in 2010, Dr. Sakwinska studies the links between nutrition and microbiomes, focusing on gut microbiome development in infants.

Presentation title: You are what you eat: From agricultural to gut microbiomes

After a PhD at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität of Würzburg, Cosima Pelludat further pursued her research on pathogenic bacteria at the Pettenkofer Institute in Munich and at the ETH Zurich. Within the Agroscope Research Programme ‘Microbial Biodiversity’, Dr. Pelludat investigates plant microbiomes and how they can confer protection against phytopathogens. Dr. Pelludat collaborates with stakeholders in government and agriculture.

Presentation title: New perspectives in fire blight biocontrol

Paulo Refinetti received a PhD in Bioengineering and Applied Statistics from EPFL, in collaboration with MIT. His doctoral research experience inspired him to found REM Analytics in 2017. The company has developed a new approach to DNA analysis that is sequencing-independent and that can determine microbiome composition for applications in personalized nutrition, food safety, and more.

Presentation title: Focus on what matters: A targeted approach to analyse the microbiome for human health

Saskia Bindschedler has a PhD in Geomycology from the University of Lausanne. She has pursued her research in environmental microbiology as a SNSF Postdoctoral Fellow in Germany, France and Switzerland. Dr. Bindschedler studies bacterial-fungal interactions, their role in ecosystem services, and their potential in industry applications such as metal biorecovery.

Presentation title: Harnessing bacteria and fungi for the biorecovery of valuable compounds in anthropogenic waste

After a PhD from ETH Zürich/Eawag, Aline Frossard pursued her research in microbial ecology as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Germany and South Africa. She is now a tenure-track research scientist at WSL in Birmensdorf. Dr. Frossard studies the effects of climate change on environmental microbiomes and their biogeochemical functions in a variety of ecosystems, including alpine, polar and desert soils.

Presentation title: Soil microbial communities and carbon cycling in the high-Arctic

Michael Besmer has a PhD in Drinking Water Microbiology from the ETH Zürich, together with years of research experience at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) in Dübendorf. Dr. Besmer developed flow cytometry solutions for automatic microbial monitoring in water samples for both industry applications and academic research.

Presentation title: On microorganisms and time


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